Saturday, February 13, 2010


Once we laid Tommy to rest, my mother in law moved the boys in with her and enrolled them in school. The State of South Carolina would NOT drop our neglect charges until we'd satisfied them. Rob and I came home to our empty home in hopes of one of us getting a job. Neither of us could find one. We lived off of the kindness of strangers and by me donating plasma. I wasn't able to do it often because it made me very, very sick. Nothing like throwing up on yourself in a room full of strangers. Or passing out. I did both on two separate occassions and I kept going back for that $20 every 4 days.

Rob moved out. Grief is a funny thing. I turned it inward on myself and he chose not to deal with it at all. I was alone in my empty home. My kids were half way across the country, my husband was talking divorce and my baby was in Heaven. On top of all of this stress, we had to take parenting classes for social services, and faced foreclosure on our home. I packed and a few times a week, Rob came by and we took our things and put them into storage. His things on one side, mine on the other. Eventually, we finished the classes and jumping through all of the various fire laden hoops that were set before us. On October 30, 2008, 3 and half months after taking our boys away from us, a judge determined that the case had no merit. All charges were dropped and custody returned to us.

Too late. Tommy never came home. During his life, so many organizations had helped us, so I decided it would be best to donate everything of his. We had medical equipment, his crib, clothes, Bumbo chair, boppy pillows, carseats, stroller, swing, diapers, and so much more. I called Tommy's Early Interventionist. They'd helped us so much. When our air conditioner went out in the middle of summer in Charleston's heat, they got us a new unit. Medicaid paid for all of the medical equipment that we could no longer use. I knew there was somebody out there that needed what we had. I don't know how I did it, but we put everything in the back of a truck one afternoon and EI took it away to be given to people in need. When it came time for us to move away once our home was foreclosed on and there was no saving it, I gave them my keys and told them to take everything that was left, including the air conditioning unit.

I moved to Kentucky and Rob moved to another state. About a month later, he would come home to KY. It was a long, hard, painful road, but we worked our marriage out. Honestly, I am glad I had the distraction. Longing for my marriage and my husband gave me something else to focus on. Something I could "fix". I couldn't bring Tommy back. I spent some time in a mental health facility when I moved to KY. I have been on antidepressants for years, but losing so much in such a short time caused me to have a nervous breakdown. Once my medications were adjusted and I had several intense therapy sessions, things started to turn around.

I grieved Tommy slowly. I've never had the bottom fall out. I've had tears flow freely many times, but I've never had what I thought would be grief. I've never curled up in a ball and shut the world out. I've never locked myself in a room and cried for days. I feel sometimes I should have felt that way, but I had a family to put back together. I didn't have time to feel sorry for myself like I should have. Once we were all in KY, we moved to a mobile home owned by Rob's grandmother. We put the kids in school and started them in therapy. I got a job. Rob saw a cardiologist who told him he shouldn't work. Since then, our fight has been for disability that has so far been denied twice.

We laid Tommy to rest in Bardstown Cemetary. We drive passed it at least once a week. He's close to the road and we wave and blow kisses when we drive by. I don't make it into the cemetary very often. I don't know how to drive, so its up to Rob to take me. He still doesn't deal very well and chooses to NOT deal, which is okay if that is what he needs. Going to the cemetary with me is very hard for him. Besides, I know Tommy is always with me, no matter where I am.

Life has gone on. We're all changed. I'll always be Tommy's Mommy. I've given myself permission to be happy. Tommy loved to laugh. It wouldn't be fair to him to not laugh too. Next week, I am going to Owenton, KY for the Heart Walk put on by God's Special Little Hearts. There will be a memorial walk in honor of our angels. I was so lucky to be his mom. So blessed. Every moment with him was a miracle. With every breath that he took and every beat of his heart.

1 comment:

Katie Columbia said...

Thank you for sharing Tommy's story. I'm sure it was very hard for you to relive all the bad times. Maybe it helped you some, too. Your family has been through so much but you stuck it out and are pulling through. May God help you to stay strong and continue your work of spreading awareness of CHDs and the impact they have on families.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the CHD Walk Saturday. We will be having good weather (supposed to have a few snow showers but nothing major). You shouldn't have any trouble getting here although you will see lots of snow on your way! Some of it may be melting, hopefully.

Katie Columbia
cp:IsaiahColumbia (HLHS,DORV,Post Glenn twice after failed Fontan-July'08)

Diagram of Tommy's Heart Defects

Diagram of Tommy's Heart Defects
Double Inlet Left Ventricle with Transpostion of the Great Arteries